Sorry to not update you sooner. How inconsiderate of me to leave you hanging with the peanut butter conundrum, and never let you know how marvelous it all turned out despite the confiscation of our beloved and apparently irreplaceable crunchy pb.
St Croix was a whirlwind of home visits and even more home visits… just a little FYI for all you aspiring public health nurses, asking a complete stranger (your patient) if you can check out their bathroom and then take a little “peek” in their refrigerator gets less and less awkward each time, truly.
There was much blood pressure taking, sticking people with lancets to check their blood glucose levels, Snellen eye charts, teaching young children about healthy snacks and exercise (many games of Shark and Minnow!!), as well as exercising with the older adults…as you can imagine, no Sharks and Minnows here, but rather some pretty snazzy chair exercises, to include several heel-toe lifts.
We are all feeling a much deeper understanding and respect for the essential role of the public health nurse and the importance of surveillance, partnering with the community, assessment, screenings, and patient education. In St Croix, this was done in the context of the home, schools, the community farmer’s market (4:45am!), and the state health department. I think we all felt a little less like nursing students and got a small taste of what it’s like on the other side (aka a real nurse!), when we were trusted to do home visits independently (no worries! Our clinical instructor was never far), and to work with people who were so grateful that we were there to listen to them talk about their health concerns, and do some screening and teaching.
We felt lucky to be here representing the School of Nursing, collaborating with amazing individuals that are doing work in St Croix, and meeting kind and inspiring residents of the island.
Our hope is that we made an impact that will be sustainable- building partnerships between some of the organizations that we worked with, and contributing to paving the way for those Hopkins nursing students who will come behind us.
We are tired. We are extremely tired. The plane ride is not so bumpy (phewwww!) and we will be landing in Baltimore soon, where we will be entering finals week to take our last exams of the program. I can’t believe that I just wrote that last sentence.
And just so you know, we ended up with so much pb, that we had something like 5 jars left over, and therefore donated them to an individual who will now have enough creamy (no crunchy to be found!) pb to last him well into next year.